Close

LEGAL ACTION

Kenyans threaten to sue state over mandatory quarantine

Says detention done with no regard to their financial capabilities, consent or agreement.

In Summary

• They claim contrary to the Covid-19 protocols, no laundry facilities were made available to those under quarantine forcing them to wear the same clothes for a period of two weeks.

• The Kenyans said they were on March 29 subjected to tests carried out by unidentified persons at the hotel and no information or explanation on the procedure was given prior to the tests, contrary to the protocols.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and senior government officials after he confirmed Kenya's first cornovirus case on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and senior government officials after he confirmed Kenya's first cornovirus case on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Several Kenyans being held at the Pride Inn hotel have threatened to sue the government over their mandatory quarantine.

Through their lawyers Mumbi Wekesa and Maranga Advocates, they claim that the government has continued to hold them at the facility against their consent despite having completed the 14-day quarantine period.

In a demand letter to the Health Ministry, the victims said they will initiate legal proceedings.

 
 

"In light of the above, our instructions are to demand which we hereby do, for the immediate and unconditional release of our clients from the isolation facility forthwith and further to provide copies of the formal test results for Covid-19 conducted on our clients," read part of the letter.

"Should you choose to refuse to comply with our clients’requests we have firm instructions to institute legal proceedings against yourselves without any further reference to you and at your peril as to costs."

As a gesture of goodwill and to illustrate appreciation of the seriousness of this matter, the lawyers said the victims being held at the facility are willing to comply with all guidelines within the confines of the law suggested by the ministry in order to self-quarantine.

The lawyers said contrary to the Covid-19 protocols, no laundry facilities were made available to those under quarantine forcing them to wear the same clothes for a period of two weeks.

The Kenyans said they were on March 29 subjected to tests carried out by unidentified persons at the hotel and no information or explanation on the procedure was given prior to the tests, contrary to the protocols.

"Our clients have not received any test results conducted on March 29, 2020, despite there being a 24-hour result/response period provided in the protocols," read the letter.

The lawyers said the Public Health Act Cap 242 Laws of Kenya is clear and unambiguous in relation to who bears the costs of isolating any individuals suspected to have been exposed to an infectious disease.

 
 

"It is unlawful to have persons held in isolation and being charged up to Sh6,000 per day for accommodation in these facilities. In fact, there is no provision either in the law or in Rules empowering the Ministry or its officials to demand that persons in enforced quarantine should pay for any expenses," the letter read in part.

The lawyers further said the unlawful act has been done with no regard to the said persons' financial capabilities and without their consent or agreement.

They said under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Kenya is a signatory and has been ratified, everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

They argued that the government is obligated to take effective steps for the “prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases".

The lawyers claim the right to health is closely related to and dependent upon the realisation of other human rights, as contained in the International Bill of Rights.

"Therefore the continued unlawful detention of our clients by the Ministry of Health is in clear contravention of Article 27 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya, The Public Health Act Cap 242 Laws of Kenya, the Public Health (Prevention, Control and Suppression of Covid-19) Rules, 2020 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," read the letter.


More: